November 03, 2014

How to Create Content that Makes a Difference

As a content creator, your experience working with brands is endless. You’ve produced successful pieces of great content in the past, but you of all people know how much the industry and the internet changes on a day to day basis. You know that everyday, there are newer and often better ways to deliver content to people.

You know that people are getting their content in different ways all the time, from new apps to new technological devices. You’re the person sharing a brand’s content strategy. You understand it and what needs to be done, but in order for your job to be successful, your content also has to be.

So how do you keep producing solid, interesting and unique content that engages audiences and keeps up with their rapidly changing lifestyles? How do you keep up with the ways content absorption is always growing and changing? You go back to the way great content was first produced, to what journalists and writers learned through experience.

You begin by fully comprehending your client’s brand – which means fully and thoroughly comprehending its current client base and potential customer base – and then you research. And research. And research. Because research still matters, and will make you an expert without, well, hiring the experts in that field to do the work for you.

Why Research Really Does Matter

Producing great content without spending lots of time or money requires the right type of investigation. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time researching your content, and most of the time, your brand will provide the research for you, but solid research is what’s missing in a lot of content your competitors are producing. So in order to stand above the competition, know exactly what you’re talking about.

Again, the key to not spending a lot of your time researching is researching in places that have a good reputation. The idea here is that these sources and experts already may have researched that topic, and you can trust them. For example, if you’re creating content about home improvement, visit experts such as top magazines and blogs in the industry who have a following. Chances are, they have a following because what they’re talking about and sharing is legitimate. Followers don’t adhere to media outlets who lie about things that can easily be proven wrong.

You’re creating content that matters. You work with a brand who wants to reach out to certain customers who need them. You work with an honest company with a reputation and belief system to uphold. In order to maintain their integrity, and subsequently, yours as a writer, you must also create content that is reputable and honest. You don’t want to be the one to create anything that can be proven wrong, such as a kitchen renovation tactic that actually does not work. Your readers will know what you’re talking about. Research will help you know even more before you share.

Become an Industry Influencer

Or at least, help the brand you’re working with become that. Your goal is to produce content for your brand or client that will allow people to understand the choice of working with them or buying their product is a wise one. Just as the brand hired you as a solid content creator, people will hire or buy from the brand because they chose them over the competition. It seems obvious, but it’s important to see the professional parallel here.

You want people to turn to that specific brand not just once, but on an ongoing basis, if need be. If your client sells a product that can be utilized just once or twice, you want their customers to recommend their services to other customers (don’t forget word of mouth is still a great marketing tactic!). You want your brand’s clients to share their website or blog on their social channels, which can truly turn the tide in terms of prosperity.

Create Powerful Headlines

It’s as true today as it was when blogs first became a method of online communication: strong headlines drive traffic. And not just any traffic: the stronger the headline, the more engaged such traffic will be. A strong headline is a multifaceted catalyst of growth. It utilizes important keywords or phrases. It is a call-to-action. It works with social sites to catch eyes and engage current and potential clients. It entertains. It informs. It’s the first impression people make upon a piece of content. It’s the door people open to read that content. Ok. It’s not everything, but it can sure make or break your brand’s relationship with people searching for them. A strong headline is a science that you as a content creator must have down. If you learn anything from this post, be it that a powerful headline spreads just that: power.

Don’t Forget to Support the Headline, Too

As the first thing someone sees upon reaching your content, the content inside the headline will subconsciously be at the forefront of their minds as they read through. If someone clicks on a tweet titled “How to Make a Million Bucks,” well…make sure they’re given the ways to add a few zeros to the number in their bank account.

Create Content Specific Call-to-actions

How To posts are an easy example of content that gives direction. It’s in the name (as it should be, right?) But what about more abstract, more targeted posts? How can you make a post applicable to real life that’s just a story or history of something? Make your links relevant, and make it interesting! You’re the content creator for a reason. Make sure your unique content is fun to read and sends people back to the correct landing pages, per your client. Knowing who your audience is and how they live, what they need and what they are seeking is how you make your posts applicable. You should have begun by knowing they would be interested and seeking out this information in the first place.

These tips may seem obvious, but keep in mind strong ideals when producing your content and your brand or client will be happy…because your readers will be happy! And that’s what it should be all about.

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